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Inspection carried out on 12 December 2019.

During a routine inspection

We carried out this announced inspection on 12 December 2019 under section 60 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 as part of our regulatory functions. We planned the inspection to check whether the registered provider was meeting the legal requirements in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and associated regulations. The inspection was led by a Care Quality Commission, (CQC), inspector who was supported by a specialist dental adviser.

To get to the heart of patients’ experiences of care and treatment, we always ask the following five questions:

• Is it safe?

• Is it effective?

• Is it caring?

• Is it responsive to people’s needs?

• Is it well-led?

These questions form the framework for the areas we look at during the inspection.

Our findings were:

Are services safe?

We found this practice was providing safe care in accordance with the relevant regulations.

Are services effective?

We found this practice was providing effective care in accordance with the relevant regulations.

Are services caring?

We found this practice was providing caring services in accordance with the relevant regulations.

Are services responsive?

We found this practice was providing responsive care in accordance with the relevant regulations.

Are services well-led?

We found this practice was providing well-led care in accordance with the relevant regulations.


Heybridge Dental Practice is in Heybridge, Maldon in Essex and provides 80% NHS and 20% private dental care and treatment for adults and children.

The practice is situated above a commercial business and is accessed via a flight of stairs. The practice informs all new patients wishing to register that they are not wheelchair accessible and signpost patients that cannot manage the stairs to other nearby practices. Free car parking is available in the public car park at the front of the practice.

The dental team includes five dentists plus one foundation dentist, four dental nurses, two apprentice dental nurses, three dental hygienists, three receptionists and a practice manager. The practice has five treatment rooms.

The practice is an approved training practice for dentists new to general dental practice. The principal dentist is a trainer and at the time of the inspection was supporting a dentist who is on the dental foundation scheme.

The practice is owned by an individual who is the principal dentist there. They have legal responsibility for meeting the requirements in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and associated regulations about how the practice is run.

On the day of inspection, the provider alerted us to the fact no CQC comment cards had been received by the practice prior to the inspection. We asked the practice manager to put a sign in the reception area alerting patients to our presence and advising them that we would be happy to speak with anyone who would like to talk to us. We spoke with 12 patients.

During the inspection we spoke with four dentists, two dental nurses, one dental hygienist, one receptionist, the practice manager, a compliance coordinator and a visiting practice manager from a sister practice owned by the provider. We looked at practice policies and procedures and other records about how the service is managed.

The practice is open: Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Our key findings were:

  • Patients received their care and treatment from staff who were well supported and enjoyed their work.
  • The practice appeared to be visibly clean and well-maintained.
  • The provider had infection control procedures which reflected published guidance.
  • Staff knew how to deal with emergencies. Appropriate medicines and life-saving equipment were available.
  • The provider had systems to help them manage risk to patients and staff.
  • The provider had safeguarding processes and staff knew their responsibilities for safeguarding vulnerable adults and children.
  • The practice had staff recruitment procedures. Disclosure and barring check results and hepatitis B immunity was not in place for some staff. The practice took immediate action to complete risk assessments and obtain immunity records.
  • The clinical staff provided patients’ care and treatment in line with current guidelines.
  • Staff treated patients with dignity and respect and took care to protect their privacy and personal information.
  • Staff provided preventive care and supported patients to ensure better oral health.
  • The appointment system took account of patients’ needs.
  • The provider had effective leadership and a culture of continuous improvement.
  • Staff felt involved and supported and worked as a team.
  • The provider asked staff and patients for feedback about the services they provided.
  • The provider dealt with complaints positively and efficiently.
  • The provider had information governance arrangements.

There were areas where the provider could make improvements. They should:

  • Implement an effective recruitment procedure to ensure that appropriate checks are completed prior to new staff commencing employment at the practice.
  • Take action to ensure that all clinical staff have adequate immunity for vaccine preventable infectious diseases.
  • Implement an effective system for recording, investigating and reviewing incidents or significant events with a view to preventing further occurrences and ensuring that improvements are made as a result.